Cobra Para-Viper (2008)
I’ve been more than a little hard on some of the 25th anniversary figures. Some of my distaste stems from disappointment with the figures having them in hand vs in the package. In 2007-2008, I was so excited to get new GI Joes based on classic designs, but then ended up mostly bagging them and relegating them to storage. A few choice figures however remained out on display.
The Cobra Para-Viper was, at first glance among others in his wave, not a figure I thought I would like. He kind of seemed like he would be too busy of a figure, with all of the gear attached to him. My opinion changed once I freed him from his packaging. I was brought back to memories of one of my favorite heavily accessorized Cobra troopers of the 80s, specifically the Snow Serpent. Here was a figure that, like the classic arctic Cobra, not only perfectly represented his specialty, but featured some interesting unexpected gear. It was also very refreshing to have a newly created Cobra among the rehashes of old figures.
All of the expected paratrooper accessories are here, from a jump harness to helmet and breathing gear to a compact submachine gun. What really amazes me are the rifle and swim fins. Both add an extra dimension to the figure, extending his useability beyond jumping from a perfectly good airplane. The rifle has a cool folding stock and a removable magazine and tripod.
The jump gear is removable, and the figure underneath can be outfitted as a serviceable looking commando figure, albeit with bright highlights and without a helmet, but hey, this is Cobra after all. The unique forearms work with both the paratrooper design as well as the Eel background of the trooper, and bring to mind the 90s Eels’ arm fins. Combined with the detailed new lower legs, the somewhat tiring Ace body mold overall gets a bit of new life. It’s too bad the Para-Viper wasn’t equipped with a more battle-ready helmet to wear.
The overall look is one that somewhat recalls early Cobra troop design. I’m especially reminded of the early Marvel comic issues and some of the specialized comic-only Cobra troops that were scattered about before the toy line later branched out. It combines realism with a few unique elements to create a really fun, playable and useful modern figure.